A Department of Homeland Security Emeritus Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

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November News: Analyzing hate crimes in America; Violent extremist exploitation of COVID-19


November News: Analyzing hate crimes in America; Violent extremist exploitation of COVID-19

November 12, 2020

RESEARCH

New research reveals tremendous diversity in hate crime offenders’ backgrounds and motivations: Contrary to the popular stereotypes that portray United States bias crime offenders as dedicated members of hate groups or intoxicated thrill seekers, new research reveals tremendous diversity in offenders’ background characteristics and motivations – there is no singular type of hate crime offender. Drawn from a first-of-its-kind database (the Bias Incidents and Actors Study [BIAS]) on nearly 1,000 violent and nonviolent hate crime offenders in the United States, a new research brief by the University of Maryland’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) shows that offenders vary significantly in terms of motivations, background and demographic characteristics, criminal histories, and targets.

New study explores risk indicators for violent hate crimes: Hate crime offenders who acted spontaneously, often in response to precipitating non-bias altercations, such as traffic accidents, were 3.9 times more likely to commit violent crimes than individuals who premeditated their acts, according to START research. Drawn from a first-of-its-kind database on nearly 1,000 violent and nonviolent hate crime offenders in the United States from 1990 to 2018, the new analysis explores risk indicators for violence among the situational dynamics of the crimes, the identities of the victims, the motivations for off ending, and the demographic and personal characteristics of the offenders.

New analysis of mass casualty hate crimes: The victims who are targeted in mass casualty events differ significantly from those who are targeted in typical hate crimes (violent and non-violent), according to a new START research brief. While anti-Semitic perpetrators account for only 10.4 percent of all offenders in the BIAS data, anti-Semitic perpetrators comprise over a third (38.1%) of the off­enders who planned or committed mass casualty attacks. And while Anti-Black offenders comprise the largest percentage of typical hate crime perpetrators (48.1%) in the database, they make-up fewer (36.2%) of the mass casualty off­enders in BIAS.

A Tragedy in Three Acts: COVID-19 and Compounding Crises: This research brief explores how the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating the threat of violent extremism by providing new opportunities, motivations, and capabilities to violent extremists. Additionally, a training presentation on this material can be found here about considerations for first responders.


DISCUSSION POINT

Hate crime is a national security issue: In this op-ed, START Director William Braniff posits that hate crime is a national security issue. He argues that despite a longstanding investment in data collection on hate crime and the high numbers of incidents documented, the government has focused less attention on perpetrators, prevention and responses related to hate crime than on terrorism, which occurs much less frequently. He writes that hate crime needs to stop being addressed as a “local” issue distinct from terrorism, and that it should be treated as a national security issue.


CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS

New study will inform resiliency best practices for the first responder community in wake of COVID-19: Calling all First Responders! If you were involved in your organization’s response to COVID-19, please take a moment to fill out our short questionnaire. A few minutes of your time now can help first responders in the future. This research is part of a larger study funded by the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate to measure the impact of COVID-19, identify best practices organizations can put in place to protect themselves in the short term, and identify strategies to make first responder organizations more resilient to pandemics in the future.


UPCOMING START EVENTS

Understanding the Rise and Resilience of Islamic State Khorasan in Afghanistan
1 p.m. ET November 12, Online
West Point Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) Assistant Professor Dr. Amira Jadoon will provide a virtual talk on “Understanding the Rise and Resilience of Islamic State Khorasan in Afghanistan.”
 
Homegrown: ISIS in America
12 p.m. ET November 17, Online
George Washington University Program on Extremism Deputy Director Seamus Hughes and Program on Extremism Research Fellow Bennett Clifford will provide a virtual talk on their new book “Homegrown: ISIS in America.”
 
Historical Appropriation Among Far-Right Extremists
2 p.m. ET December 10, Online
In this virtual panel event, START Senior Researcher Dr. Elizabeth Yates, Brandeis University Assistant Professor of English Dr. Dorothy Kim and Eidolon Editor-in-Chief Dr. Donna Zuckerberg will discuss “Historical Appropriation Among Far-Right Extremists.”
 
Virtual Information Session: Graduate Certificate in Terrorism Analysis
6 p.m. ET December 10, Online
START's Graduate Certificate in Terrorism Analysis provides participants with advanced education on the causes, dynamics, and impacts of international and domestic terrorism. Participants also develop the methodological skills necessary to pursue advanced research on and analysis of terrorism. RSVP to education-start@umd.edu for login information.
 
Profiles of Individual Radicalisation in Australia (PIRA) Dataset: An Introduction to PIRA and an Exploration of Risk and Contextual Factors Linked to Radicalisation in Australia
6 p.m. ET December 14, Online
University of Queensland Professor Dr. Adrian Cherney and Senior Research Assistant Emma Belton will provide a virtual talk on “Profiles of Individual Radicalisation in Australia (PIRA) Dataset: An Introduction to PIRA and an Exploration of Risk and Contextual Factors Linked to Radicalisation in Australia.”
 
How Did 9/11 Affect Terrorism Research? A Look at Disciplines and Gender
10 a.m. ET February 3, Online
University of Essex Senior Lecturer Dr. Brian J. Phillips will provide a virtual talk on “How Did 9/11 Affect Terrorism Research? A Look at Disciplines and Gender.”